Retail Experience & the Purpose of a Pop-up

There’s broad agreement now that the most viable stores are ones that are an experience and not just a piece of real estate meant for selling physical product. Such experiences can be a boon for any brand.

But what about when a brand invests in an physical experience that lacks any connection not just to what it sells but to the brand ethos itself?

While the press described Coach’s recent pop-up as valuable, my impression was different. There’s so much they could’ve done with the Life Coach theme that would’ve reinforced the brand’s positioning to those who waited on line to enter.

Instead, I saw three rooms that were almost entirely disconnected from each other, little reference to “Life Coach” and none that was aspirational (or whimsical as the article claims), and just one very small connection to the Coach name itself.

The environment was almost entirely made for selfie-taking and I have to think a big draw was the Instagram-ready vignettes. But a quick hashtag search for #lifecoachny isn’t particularly impressive. 

While I’m all for the product-free pop-up, I’m looking for more of a tie between brand and experience than this one. Retailers should be looking for that, too.